‘Secret button’ under TV star Matt Lauer’s desk
SACKED US Today host Matt Lauer has been accused of sexual harassment by three women, as horrifying details of his alleged misbehaviour come to light.
Variety spoke with a number of his accusers, reporting that the ousted breakfast host had a secret button installed under the desk in his office, which was in a secluded space. The button allegedly meant he could lock the door from the inside without getting up.
"It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer," Variety reports.
Lauer was also accused of giving one woman a sex toy as a present - with a note saying he wanted to use it on her.
He also allegedly summoned another female colleague to his office, dropped his pants and showed her his penis. Lauer then allegedly scolded her when she rejected his sexual advances.
The big-earning star also allegedly asked female producers about who they'd had sex with - and named co-hosts he'd like to sleep with during a game called "f***, marry or kill."
"For Lauer, work and sex were intertwined," the Variety report alleges. The anchor was "fixated on women, especially their bodies and looks".
TMZ today unearthed footage from 2006 that showed Lauer whispering a lewd aside to fellow presenter Katie Couric: "Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view," he told her, as they prepared to film a segment together.
Years later, in an interview with Andy Cohen, Couric said that her former colleague had an annoying habit of "pinching her ass a lot".
Several women told Variety they'd complained to NBC executives about Lauer's behaviour during their time working with him, but that their complaints were ignored.
As the allegations surfaced this morning, it was the disturbing detail of Lauer's secret desk button that shocked many:
Matt Lauer had a button under his desk so he could lock the door to his office after inviting women in to make inappropriate advances on them, according to Variety. That's super-villain-level creepy. https://t.co/AMttD9Z4vJ pic.twitter.com/98FX6RAQY9— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) November 29, 2017
There’s so much in that Variety Matt Lauer story that is horrific, but the one detail I can’t shake is this: who exactly signs off on his getting a button that lets him lock his office door from his desk?— Jason Lynch (@jasonlynch) November 29, 2017
One former NBC exec claims Lauer was not alone in having this feature in his office.
Matt Lauer "had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up." https://t.co/9OTX46I9yX— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) November 29, 2017
Lauer's "heartbroken" co-hosts learned of his axing just moments before going on air to report the news.
Savannah Guthrie has been co-anchor of Today alongside Lauer for the past five years, but this morning was joined at the desk by fellow presenter Hoda Kotb.
"We just learned this moments ago, just this morning. As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this," said Guthrie.